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Longhope RNLI help celebrate the 200th anniversary of the RNLI in Stromness

Lifeboats News Release

A truly spectacular day for Stromness as it celebrates the 200 Anniversary of the RNLI.

Mary Harris

RNLI crew on stage singing!

As Longhope RNLI lifeboat approached the harbour, the haar cleared and the sun shone down on the winding streets of Stromness that were filled to bursting with folk out to celebrate the 200 Anniversary of the RNLI.

All around the pier head there were activities and stalls to entertain us as we waited excitedly for the arrival of the mass pipe band. The children danced and played their fiddles, ‘Orkney Rocks’ sang with gusto and Stromness was alive and buzzing with a huge community goodwill feeling flowing through the crowds.

Then we heard the first beat of the drums and the refrain of about a hundred pipers as a massive procession with lifeboat crews, Vikings, families and supporters weaved through the narrow lanes towards the pier head. The sight and sound was incredible with pipe bands and lifeboat crews from Stromness, Kirkwall, Thurso, Wick and amazingly 31 pipers and their families from Canada. I think there were many spectators who experienced the goose bump sensation or shed an emotional tear at the fantastic sight and sound.

Finally when the pipes and drums had been put away we were in for another treat. Always ready to face the unknown, the lifeboat crews were asked to take the stage and sing with the choir ‘Home from the sea’. I think some found this more nerve racking than heading out to sea in a violent storm. However, as it says in the song ‘But each volunteer, had to live with their fear’ and they bravely ‘answered the call.’

The organisation, imagination and preparation for this day must have been phenomenal, with the whole community pulling together. And the attention to detail was inspiring, for example the interesting lifeboat themed displays in many shop windows and the creativeness of the photographic bunting. It was also good to see the statue of John Rae supporting the RNLI ,wearing a life jacket and holding a donation bucket.

The lifeboat guild worked tirelessly all day with a feast being provided for the pipers, lifeboat crews and all who participated. Many congratulations to Stromness, the RNLI, the pipe bands and to all who contributed, for creating this magnificent happy day, one which will never be forgotten, with the day successfully ending by Stromness lifeboat being called out to rescue two climbers in trouble on the cliffs of Hoy. Bravo RNLI Stromness.

Notes to editors

· Longhope lifeboat station has been operating since 1874. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to:

RNLI media contacts

Vicky Mackinnon, Longhope RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer, [email protected]

Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

Mary Harris

Longhope and Stromness RNLI lifeboats

Mary Harris

Here they come!

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.